Grinding away on the Kennedy funeral – more thoughts

A lot of people are still grinding away about the funeral of the late Sen. Kennedy. 

Some are grinding because they are angry.  Others are grinding in the sense of mulling, thinking through the issues.

I have come to the view that it wasn’t entirely out of bounds to have a funeral for the late Senator.  Reports are that, at the end, he wanted the priest there and I am sure he received the last sacraments. 

However, I said above: funeral.  Actually a funeral.  It should have been a funeral clearly focused on prayers for the repose of the Senator’s soul and begging God’s mercy.  That is not what it was.

Furthermore, because of the risk of scandal, it seems to me that – despite his great public fame – the funeral should have been discreet…. not televised.  So what if he was hugely famous?

Since the Church’s shepherd’s didn’t apply the law to the long-time pro-abortion advocate Sen. Kennedy regarding Holy Communion, it is pretty hard to say that he couldn’t have a funeral.  I know two wrongs don’t make a right… but… as I said… at the end he did seem to want the sacraments and I pray to God he asked forgiveness for all his sins.

If there was public scandal, I am afraid that it is the fault not only of Sen. Kennedy himself, but also our shepherds who did nothing for decades in the face of what the Senator became infamous for doing.

So… people are mulling… grinding.

Two of the grinders are Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, of the Rome office of Human Life International and Dr. Ed Peters, professor of Canon Law at Sacred Heart in Detroit.

Msgr. Barreiro, a friend of mine wrote an opinion on Lifesite.   Dr. Peters responded to that opinion on his blog.

I must agree with Dr. Peters in this case.

Fr. Brian Harrison , O.S. from the Oblates of Wisdom Study Center, St. Louis, Missouri, also has a piece on Lifesite.

An excerpt:

How would our Church leaders act if they really did take seriously an official Church position from which a prominent deceased Catholic had publicly dissented?

To answer that question, we need only imagine a situation in which some well-known Catholic legislator had for years supported the Church’s social teaching ‘across the board’, in regard to human life, marriage, compassion toward the poor and underprivileged, etc., but had then, in old age, lapsed into supporting some ideological position that was strongly opposed not only by the Church, but also by the dominant Western elites.

Suppose, for instance, that he had come to endorse white supremacism or holocaust denial. …

Would they agree to give him a free pass in regard to this defect?

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10 Responses to Grinding away on the Kennedy funeral – more thoughts

  1. dbgallup says:

    I fail to see any relevance to Kennedy’s situation of Fr. Harrison’s queery. Kennedy’s aversion to pro-life principles was long-standing and he gave no public repudiation of those stances which were opposed to the Church’s teaching. A flip due to senility is something all of us can understand and I certainly believe God’s mercy assists all of us who are losing our marbles. Unless Fr. Harrison wants to assert Kennedy lost his marbles, so to speak, in the early 60s, I think his point is a red herring. Naturally I do not judge Kennedy — but pray very much for him as he was complicit in the murder of millions of unborn babies.

  2. JillOfTheAmazingWolverineTribe says:

    I think it was wrong of the episcopate to show up. And they should have stuck to the rules which would have ruled out that aggrandizement by Obama. That was off the hook to allow that. I don’t like ANY eulogizing in church. And this was practically a canonization. And why must the proabortion Kennedy Klan flaunt trotting up for Communion? Caroline and the other proaborts should be refused. This does give scandal and it’s high time it stopped. I have NO respect for the hierarchy in Massachusetts. NONE.

  3. ssoldie says:

    Is not the Kennedy family at fault also for the ‘funeral’ of the late “for death” senator which, he espoused so strongly on the unborn. They also should be held accountable for such a public and what turned out to be a ‘sham’ of the Catholic Funeral Mass, which is a Mass to pray for the soul. Small wonder the Catholic Church is and has been in such a mess for the last forty + years, when it has had such Bishop’s and Cardinals who are suppose to be the Lords Shepherd’s, but who have instead become ‘lucifer’s’ right hand workers. God help us.

  4. TMA says:

    I remember vividly watching the funeral of Robert Kennedy in 1968. I was ten. It was the first time I heard about the Mass of the Resurrection. The clergy wore white vestments. I was shocked to see that the Kennedy girls were dressed in white and wore no veils, only ribbons in their hair. This was a real turning point for me. It seemed to set a new standard for Catholic funerals. That was the summer that it became acceptable in our parish for women and girls to not wear veils or hats in church. I did not see black vestments at a Catholic funeral again until I joined a TLM parish in 2007.

    Today, I am wondering how that very public and emotional funeral in 1968 influenced our Catholic culture. Whenever our Bishops and Cardinals participate in these very public liturgies, for better or worse, they are giving their approval to them by their very participation. That approval can have a very far reaching affect on the faithful.

  5. It seems much of the problem and possible scandal could have been avoided if Card. O’Malley had allowed a funeral, but forbidden a video feed.

  6. Fr. John Mary says:

    Being a glutton for punishment, I researched the NCReporter blog section for their “take” on the Kennedy funeral…I present to you the counter-point to Bishop Gracida’s excellent presentation of the issues…have your ‘barf bag’ ready…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-wallis/faith-is-about-redemption_b_276010.html

  7. Athanasius says:

    I fail to see any relevance to Kennedy’s situation of Fr. Harrison’s queery. Kennedy’s aversion to pro-life principles was long-standing and he gave no public repudiation of those stances which were opposed to the Church’s teaching. A flip due to senility is something all of us can understand and I certainly believe God’s mercy assists all of us who are losing our marbles. Unless Fr. Harrison wants to assert Kennedy lost his marbles, so to speak, in the early 60s, I think his point is a red herring.

    I think you missed his overall point. Harrison’s point was would the Church have reacted the same way if Kennedy espoused politically unpopular things (thank God they are) such as holocaust denial and racism? Would she have given him a public funeral and benedictions and eulogies? No, everyone would be hiding and running for cover, declaring that he should have no public funeral. The fact is the Church didn’t want to look mean by being consistent to its pro-life message and compromised.

  8. Frank Doyle says:

    As a lifelong resident of the Archdiocese of
    Boston, I am not surprised that Senator Kennedy
    was canonized at his funeral. The Kennedy family
    is still revered here by far too many Catholics -
    especially the clergy.

    I hope Senator Kennedy did repent before he died
    and I do pray that Our Lord will have mercy on
    his soul. I certainly agree that if he did
    repent, then a Requiem Mass for the Senator’s
    soul was appropriate. However, what transpired
    at Mission Church was a scandal.

    I agree with Monsignor Barreiro that if the Senator did repent, then it should have been made public so as to avoid scandal.

    We know that a priest did see the Senator
    before he died but that priest did not state
    if Last Rites were administered.If Last Rites
    were not administered, then a funeral Mass
    should have been denied.

    Permit me to ask a question which perhaps no one
    has considered, why would Senator Kennedy repent
    of his support of abortion when he was never
    publicly rebuked by the Church? Why would he
    believe he was wrong if priests like Fr. Drinan
    supported Senator Kennedy’s views?

    In the interest of full disclosure, I too am
    a personal friend of Monsignor Barreiro. I
    believe Dr. Peters’ criticism was more
    condescending than constructive.

  9. robtbrown says:

    I tend to disagree with my old Roman friend Msgr Barreiro.

    On the other hand, I think that Dr Peters reference to justice and mercy was confused. The relationship between the two is subtle. (For example, St Thomas says that in a certain sense mercy is the perfection of justice.)

    This problem of the Kennedy funeral could have been dealt with simply by the Cardinal. He could have told the priest that in light of Kennedy’s promotion of abortion, there will be nothing resembling a eulogy, not in the homily nor any comments by family members. Further, as an enthusiastic formal cooperator in abortion, Obama will not be allowed to speak.

  10. robtbrown says:

    IMHO, the best solution for this problem is simply to move any eulogy to the reception after the funeral.